What is one of the most popular trends of the last decade? That is right — automation and AI development. Over the last several years we have seen the surge of AI-powered technologies and algorithms. And for sure, in such a short period of time they managed to get into various branches of our lives, including, of course, customer support.
Coming across an AI-powered chatbot is becoming very mundane and is not a surprise to anyone. There is no doubt that soon it is going to become an industry standard.
But is that a good thing? Even though AI might be of help when it comes to dealing with frequent requests, there is no way that it should replace human support consultants as it is never going to be able to replace a human touch — an extremely crucial detail when it comes to customer support.
That being said, we should also point out that there are several types of customer support and in some of them AI, working together with human consultants, might be beneficial to creating a high level of UX.
Two major types of customer support
Let’s face it — not all the customers require an assistance of a human consultant. And some of them do not even have the time to contact one. They just need their issue resolved quick and easy. And for sure, common questions and inquiries can and should be answered by a knowledge base that can be found on a dedicated page of your website.
FAQ, Q&A, AI chats and various videos can be of an enormous help to the support consultants who, instead of dealing with easy and common questions, can dedicate their time to something more challenging and difficult, requiring tier 2 and 3 support.
- Contact center support
Calling, writing or messaging the consultants working in the contact center is much more preferable to users even today. A whopping 80 percent of the consumers state that they want to talk to a person rather than a machine. This means that they found talking to a human more pleasurable and more efficient than talking to an AI.
Contact center, especially an outsourced one, covers it all — chats, emails, phones and social media support.
‼️ Failing to recognize the fact that the majority of the customers still want to talk to a human being and not to an AI will inevitably result in UX failing and the customer base decreasing due to the end users not getting what they need.
AI and human consultants — collaboration for the best UX
Even though the usage of AI is not something that is accepted well by the public, there are still some tasks that support teams can pass on to a machine. This will ultimately free the schedules and the minds of the consultants, the effort of whom is going to be aimed into delivering the best services.
‼️ Note: support providers are to be completely honest and open that at some point their end users are going to communicate with an AI. Failing to disclose this fact will lead to the end users losing faith in the service provider or even dropping them altogether.
Where can AI be implemented?
1. ❓ Answering the most frequent questions
Yes, AI is a perfect tool for developing and maintaining a knowledge base — a set of knowledge and answers comprised out of the most frequently asked questions. This can greatly help improve the experience of both customers (73 percent of customers still want to resolve their issues on their own without any of the help) and support consultants.
2. 💬 Starting the dialogue and determining the urgency of the request
Even though, for the most part, customers do not want to interact with a machine, it is still inescapable. And there are some parts of the dialogue that might be delegated to AI. For example, starting the conversation with the customer and determining whether their request is urgent or whether the customer is dissatisfied. Technology like this might help prioritize the ticket flow with accordance to the emotions, experienced by the user. Taking urgent matters into consideration first will greatly decrease the number of customers, dissatisfied with the support services.
For example, we at SupportYourApp, are using our in-house developed technology QUIDGET. It sorts through the emails and chat conversations to determine which tickets require the fastest resolution based on the language and tone, used by the customers.
3. ⌛ Decreasing the time required to resolve difficult requests
For sure, all support consultants come face to face with difficult requests sooner or later. And sometimes such cases require escalation or can take a long time to be resolved. This is exactly the case where AI comes in handy. Playing a role of an aggregator of information, AI has the possibility to quickly dig into the root of the issue and can help resolve it much quicker.
Of course, it is important to differentiate what cases can be resolved with the help of AI, and which must only be handled by a team of human consultants, even if they do require escalation.
Are the customers ready for change?
It is clear, that those working in customer support are gradually getting ready for AI to help them out with difficult tasks or overflowing schedules. But customers are located on the other side of these changes. And they might not be completely ready to embrace the changes that are coming into the industry.
But why? Well, the truth is that AI chatbots fail to deliver the same level of customer support as the human consultants. As a result, businesses that opt for using only AI-based solutions, fully rejecting human consultants, lose customers due to a bad level of service and support.
At the same time, some customers fully expect to see a chatbot on the other side of a support line. This leads towards them talking to support consultants by only using keywords (as they would do with an AI) and failing to describe their issue in full, which prolongs the time needed to resolve their ticket, which, in its turn, leads to a decrease in customer satisfaction level.
What are the consequences of full-on automation?
Usually a full automatization of customer support is implemented to avoid dealing with human consultants and to cut costs. But this may lead to dramatic business losses due to decrease in customer satisfaction and customer retention.
Low retention is not the only consequence of AI fully replacing the human consultants in customer support contact centers. Among others there are:
- 📉 Decrease in the current customer base
To turn the customers loyal, one has to ensure that the quality of service is top-notch. And that is simply impossible when fully automating the support process.
Making AI complement the existing human-run system, on the other hand, is going to do just the opposite — bring the best of both systems, ensuring for a better UX.
- ⬇️ Lower company’s rating due to bad reviews
Customers are more likely to leave a negative feedback and tell about a negative experience than about a good one. And it doesn’t matter whether they had this experience with AI or a human consultant — bad experience will probably lead to bad reviews and the ratings of the company plummeting lower and lower. This, in its turn, will result in more expenses tied to the need to increase the ratings once again.
- 🥺 More churn, fewer clients
Word travels fast and in the end bad customer service, provided by an AI, can lead toward customer churn increasing and customer count decreasing. And even though it might seem far-fetched, it is true.
We have to understand that customers are the ones who set all the trends in customer support and service. And SupportYourApp, as an outsource customer support company, understands that UX comes first. That is why we have a perfect combination of human consultants and AI.
We have the most qualified consultants who are trained to support specific products with accordance to their soft and hard skills. Everyone is in the most suitable place. AI is just helping them sort through the tickets from the end-users, so that everyone gets a timely and efficient resolution of their issues.
A perfect balance of human and AI collaboration. And that is only the beginning.